Notes from Wine Distributors Webinar (11/15/17)

Considerations in Looking for Distributors:

Marketing in Collaboration with Distributors:

Price Point in Restaurants Discussion:

Restaurants serving wine by the glass look to earn back the cost of the bottle on their first pour. They don’t have to do that - some adjust down based on their market - but remember that Vermont is on the low end of the spectrum of wine-by-the-glass markups. What restaurants do have to do is make a profit across their menu, and the certainty of profiting from every bottle of wine is important.

There was debate over wine by the glass versus sales by the bottle. The advantages of wine by the glass are that: usually it’s a highlight on the menu, people are more willing to try something new by the glass, the conversation with the server is less likely to be varietal specific (you ask “what do you have for red?” more often than “what pinot noir is by the glass?”), people who are ordering other beverages (like cocktails) will follow it up with a glass of wine more often than a bottle. The advantages of a bottle are that it’s less of a markup (and diners usually know that), more people are trying your wine, and there’s a certain conviviality that goes with a shared bottle.

It is possible to offer a discounted price to restaurants. You can either offer a discounted price to everyone across the state or you can repackage the wine under a different label that’s for on-premise sales only (pricing differences by label are legal, differential discounting is not).

Vermont Wine in Retail Discussion:

Price in Retail: It’s important that the VT wine market reach beyond on tourists or travelers picking up a bottle of Vermont wine as a single special purchase. For local people buying a decent (non-special occasion) bottle of wine retail, the national range is usually $10.99 - $12.99, while Vermont wines are $15.99 - $17.99 (a significant percentage more). The story behind a winery, plus the quality of the wine, helps bridge a value divide.  

Placement in Retail: A Vermont-only display is useful in the tourist / special occasion market and it helps make sure that store staff know immediately where a Vermont wine is if someone inquires. If Vermont wines are also mixed in with the regular sections, this has several advantages: because of how the shelving goes (most to least expensive) Vermont wines land at eye level, customers often are shopping by label so combining being at eye level with an appealing label (and local) is a winning combination, also shelf talkers draw attention. The worst solution is on shelves with those shelves arranged by varietal - that’s a bad plan. A combination of winemakers and distributors talking to retailers about what arrangement they think would get more product sold can help make a shift.

A related question is floor displays in retail? Winemakers can push retails for a large floor display . . . but you have to be pretty darn sure the product will move or you may not get another shot at promotions with that outlet.

Items discussed that there are plans to address in 2018. . .